|KIT:||Hasegawa 1/48 P-40N Warhawk|
|KIT #:||09088 (JT 88)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Built in the greatest numbers of any of the P-40 series, the N model was a result of efforts by Curtiss to produce a lightened version. As with just about all aircraft, additional 'stuff' was added to the airframe to increase its capabilities and this 'stuff' added weight that was unable to be overcome by increases in engine power. A major effort to remove unneeded weight ensued that resulted in a P-40 of improved performance and two fewer wing guns. Well, pilots of fighters like guns and these were soon re-instated.
Many have wondered why the P-40 was even kept in production. By the time of the N model, it was obsolescent, but the government wanted to keep Curtiss solvent and having them churn out P-40s was one way to do that. It was also a rugged airframe and when used in areas where enemy fighter opposition was not heavy (and against nearly equally obsolescent Japanese aircraft such as the Ki-43), the P-40 was still a very useful tool. This resulted in the P-40's heavy use in the Pacific, CBI, and in the Mediterranean theater, where enemy air activity was not very heavy. By this time in its life it was being used more and more as a fighter bomber in support of troops, a job it did fairly well. Eventually, it was replaced by Mustangs and Thunderbolts, though the type did soldier on until the end of the war in the hands of some Allies. Postwar, enough survived to become quite common on the early warbird circuit, though they are somewhat rare birds nowadays.
If you have seen or built the Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E, then you will have realized that Hasegawa plans to do the whole family of later P-40 variants. With a plethora of inserts and parts separation panels, we can see what is coming and so it is not surprising that the N model was released this last week. In all respects this one is the same kit as the P-40 E with a few changes in available sprues. Those sprues are for some interior parts and for the rear fuselage. There is also a new clear sprue provided that isn't shown. What is shown are the new sprues. For a look at the rest of the kit's sprues, I recommend visiting the P-40E preview. I should point out that there is no photo etched fret in this boxing.
As with the previous kit, you have options for a drop tank or bomb and for wheels. Two things regarding wheels. One is that just about all P-40Ns used the spoke type wheels. This kit shows the covered wheels used for one of the decal options so I'd check for photos to verify that. Secondly, the spoked wheels are supposedly smaller than the covered variety. If that is true, then Hasegawa hasn't shown that difference and you'll have to use aftermarket wheels. True Details makes a set for the Mauve P-40N that you can use, though I'm not sure if those are smaller or not. The instructions also tell you to 'please level surface after installation' of the little clear lenses on the fuselage side.
The markings provided in this kit are for two aircraft. One is the box art plane of the 45th FS/15th FG named 'Geronimo' and painted in sand over light blue. There is some controversy over the underside color on this one as neutral grey has been proffered as the other shade. The second option is 'Kansas City Kiddie III' in standard OD over neutral grey with an all white empennage. Spinner is yellow with a black band (both colors need to be painted on). The decals themselves are well done and appear to be the 'new' Hasegawa decals where the white is white and they will respond to setting solutions. The white still looks a bit transparent to me as it has a bit of a blue tinge from the underlying paper backing. Once again, options are given in terms of instrument panel decals. I do find it odd that two instrument panels have been provided along with their decals, when only one of them is called for in the instructions.
I managed to build the E in a week with little problem. I don't doubt that this kit will build equally as fast and equally as well. Hasegawa has provided what most of us have wanted for years, a well done P-40 family. Doesn't mean that you have to trash your Mauve or AMT kit as both will build into nice models and it makes no sense to get rid of perfectly good kits. It is just that you now have another option.
You may thank my now lighter wallet for this preview kit.
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